Cowboy Bebop: Tengoku no tobira (2001)
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Doesn't quite capture the magic of the series, which is one of the all time greats, but it's definitely a worthy addition to the Cowboy Bebop canon. The high stakes plot actually doesn't work anywhere near as well as the often trivial storylines of the series, because it runs in opposition to the well established tone of Bebop, which is very much focused on the characters and their relationships and histories, rather than the big picture stuff. It doesn't help that the 'space' bit of 'space cowboy' is sorely lacking for most of the movie, but the characters are as brilliant as ever, the humour is still spot on, everything is cool as hell, and the animation and action scenes are absolutely stunning. Of course all that doesn't really matter, because it's worth watching this movie just to spend some extra time with the crew of the Bebop, but even apart from that it's a very good animation movie that stands up well on its own.
Can't get enough of Cowboy Bebop. To get the most from this you'll probably want to watch the series first, but you could manage without.
It has that problem I think most TV show-based movies have: it doesn't want to be TV. The focus seems to be on big stakes and new characters, and the unfortunate side effect of this is that the characters we love get lost in the shuffle. You could replace the crew with any other band of irreverent bounty hunters and it wouldn't really change the movie at all. I'm also not big on the tone shift, but I don't think that's an issue with the movie so much as me just wanting more Bebop.
I wouldn't call it bad by any means, but it's not the type of movie that I'd ever feel like revisiting. It's somewhat bland, but it does have a lot of really good individual scenes in it. If you, like me, tried out Cowboy Bebop (as someone who doesn't really watch any anime) and went gaga for it, I guess you might as well watch this for completion's sake, but I wouldn't really recommend it. If you haven't seen any Cowboy Bebop and you want to watch the movie for the toplist check, give the series a try. You don't have to watch the show to understand what's happening, and the characters are established well enough that you get the gist, but watching the show is an enriching experience on its own.
to see which of your friends have seen this movie!